Introduction Increasingly, a presence on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, are the cultural norm. Such activities typically involve the public sharing of personal information and viewpoints. For physicians, however, such public accessibility may affect their relationships with patients and other stakeholders.
Objectives We sought to determine public expectations of the extent and manner of physicians' presence on social media.
Methods A questionnaire consisting of 36 questions was created using the SurveyMonkey.com website. The link to the survey was shared widely via social media.
Results There were 259 respondents, predominantly female (74%), urban (87%) and Canadian (94%). A small proportion (31%) felt that a relationship with their physician on social media would be harmful to their clinical relationship, while 56% reported that it would be neither harmful nor beneficial. The majority (55%) expressed concerns about privacy. Almost a third (29%) would be less inclined to maintain a professional relationship with their physician if their physician expressed a conflicting political view than their own on social media. A substantial proportion (46%) also felt that their family physicians should limit their visibility on social media.
Conclusion As social media becomes entrenched into our everyday lives, the extent to which the rights of physicians to participate must be weighed against the perceptions of their current and potential patients.
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